Mendelssohn, Reimann, R Schumann

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COMPOSERS: Mendelssohn,R Schumann,Reimann
LABELS: Carpiccio
ALBUM TITLE: Mendelssohn / Reimann, R Schumann
WORKS: String Quartet in A, Op. 41/3; Sechs Gesänge, Op.108 (arr. Reimann)
PERFORMER: Christine Schäfer (soprano); Petersen Quartet


Just when you thought it was safe to fly off on those familiar wings of song, along comes that shameless trouble-maker Aribert Reimann, and takes Mendelssohn a long, long way from the cosiness of the Victorian parlour.

Reimann has arranged eight of Mendelssohn’s songs (the ones with words) for soprano and string quartet, and composed six instrumental Intermezzi of his own which prepare ear and spirit for his striking and often disturbing take on each subsequent song.

These are Heine settings; and in Reimann’s pen there’s more Heine about them than Mendelssohn. It’s as though their light-dappled imaginings, beautifully captured in Christine Schäfer’s radiant soprano, are refracted through Heine’s famous ‘einsame Trane’ – his anxious lonely tear.

Even the elves of ‘In dem Mondenschein’ are much of pale Hecate’s team, following darkness like a dream. A sometimes harshly truthful performance of Schumann’s String Quartet in A mediates between Reimann’s arrangements of Mendelssohn and of Schumann’s six Op. 107 songs.


The entire programme is a project right up the Strasse of both Schäfer and the enterprising Petersen Quartet. They and Reimann offer revelatory insight into Mendelssohn, Schumann and their poets in this entirely compelling recording. Hilary Finch